18
Dec
google_dialer_icon

Of all the announced new features of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4/KitKat, one of the cooler ones was a new dialer colloquially known as the "KitKat dialer." It features a revamped UI and includes the ability to search for businesses, contacts, etc. right from inside the dialer. It also features Internet-based caller ID. The name "KitKat dialer," however, is not entirely accurate.

Background

Google Dialer (its official name) is not technically part of KitKat because it is not included in AOSP. It is a closed-source alternative to the regular AOSP dialer, much in the way that Google Play Music replaces the AOSP music app and Chrome replaces the AOSP browser. The name "KitKat dialer" refers to the fact that Google launched it on the Nexus 5, which was KitKat's launch device.

gd_1 gd_2

gd_3 gd_4

Unlike one of the other new apps introduced alongside KitKat, the Google Experience Launcher - which is a Nexus 5 exclusive - Google actually saw fit to release its revamped dialer application to other Nexus and Google Play Edition phones. Unfortunately, outside of that universe the dialer is unavailable, at least officially. At some time down the road, Google could easily decide to offer it through the Play Store but there's no indication of that happening in the foreseeable future. Until that day arrives, you can install it manually.

Installation Procedure

Before beginning, you must be rooted and running either an official or custom KitKat ROM on your phone. Google Dialer will not install on any version of Android prior to 4.4.

  1. Download either the APK file or the flashable ZIP file using the links at the bottom of this post. The APK was pulled directly from a Nexus 5 running Android 4.4.2.
  2. Flash the ZIP file in a custom recovery, or copy the APK file directly into /system/priv-app.
  3. If you opted to move the APK file manually, you'll need to set the permissions on the APK to 644 after moving it into its proper folder. Do this either through your file manager app or via a shell.
  4. Reboot your phone.

Possible Problems And Questions

During our testing on various phones and setups, we encountered a few problems that we feel are worth mentioning, and some questions that some of you will most likely have.

Can this be installed without root?

This question can only be answered with another question. Do you want to be able to make calls? While yes, the app can be installed without root, it requires permissions that are only available to apps that are signed with a platform key or installed in /system/priv-app. What that means in practical terms is that if you install the app without root, the actual searching function will work, but you will not be able to make calls.

I installed the app but the icon doesn't show up in my app tray. What can I do?

If this happens on your phone, the only solution we found was to use Nova Launcher because it has a feature that allows you to run a specific activity within an app. To set this up:

  1. Within Nova Launcher, long-press on the home screen.
  2. Choose "Shortcuts"
  3. Select "Activities"
  4. Find "Google Dialer" in the list, then tap to open it up, and select "Phone" (use the first one in the list)

gd_5 gd_6 gd_7

This will put a shortcut to the dialer on your home screen. At this stage, you can use this to access Google Dialer. It's not the cleanest solution, but it does work.

Can I disable my default dialer?

The short answer is no. As a general rule, you will need to keep your present dialer enabled in order to receive calls. The long answer is that on some phones you might be able to disable your stock dialer, but on others you definitely cannot. Feel free to try it on your own device and let us know what your results are.

Download

Here are both a flashable ZIP file as well as the lone APK file. If you want to flash in recovery, use the ZIP file. If old-school is more your thing, download the APK and put it in /system/priv-app manually.

Flashable ZIP

File name: com.google.android.dialer-1.01.flashable.zip

File Size: 2.4 MB

APK File

File name: com.google.android.dialer-1.01.apk

File Size: 4.8 MB

Shawn De Cesari
Shawn is a web developer by day and XDA's resident archivist for Nexus and Google Play Edition device OTA updates by night. When not immersing himself in code or Android, he can be found hunting down antique signs, taking road trips, listening to music, or playing video games. His phone of choice is a Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition.
  • jamesfuston

    Oh thank god. Got my Moto X yesterday and saw the nearby search didn't make it. I was disappoint. Thanks AP.

  • Ivan Martinez

    Am I the only one who can't figure out how to easily access my starred contacts? I love the new dialer, but so far the old one has it beat there.

    • heilmaenner

      I am also NOT getting my starred favorites into the dialer. Why the hell?

  • Gitanshu Sardana

    What if someone tries to install it on older android versions? 4.2/4.3?

    • Akshay Mehta

      Good luck with that

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      Not going to happen. The APK has a minimum API requirement of 19, which is KitKat 4.4. That means it will not install on anything prior.

      • Alexander Terry

        Even if you go and change the manifest or whatever and make it compatible?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

          Try it and let us know. I'd be shocked if it worked, though.

          • Alexander Terry

            *Yawn*
            To borring,, and besids, what are the odds it'll work on 4.1.2? That and, I don't even know how. I'll wait for a port by xda.

  • Zargh

    Seems Nexus is more and more becoming a skin in its own right alongside Sense, Touchwiz etc

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      Nexus devices get two different versions of AOSP apps, it's not becoming a skin.

      • Zargh

        Yet the new Google Play edition devices (which more or less fall under the Nexus banner) only have G+ Photos, not Gallery. There really seems to be a general trend in that direction.

        The AOSP apps inclusion in the Nexus 5 seems more down to time constraints and developer considerations than anything else, but I guess we'll see as time passes.

        • Christofftofferson

          Really? The N5 comes with gallery but GPE devices don't?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

            Yeah that's a strange one, but it's true. Eventually "Photos" (part of the G+ app) is intended to replace "Gallery". That's why in KitKat, "Camera" and "Gallery" were split up so they aren't the same app anymore. Gallery is going away in commercial builds, but will still exist in raw AOSP.

          • Shawn Cheever

            Thanks! Disabled Gallery now. I hated having two options. I can live without the editing options for now. Still hoping for a more robust camera app.

          • Frettfreak

            If you want an amazing editing app that's simple. Try snapseed. Google owns the and that's where they got most the tools in the gallery editor anyway.

          • usaff22

            I'm surprised - the editing features in the photos app are terrible compared to the Gallery.

        • codemonkey85

          Or more likely the G+ Photos app will ultimately replace the Gallery app in all Android phones, and Nexus / GPE devices are a testing ground before it's ready?

        • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

          I'm running Kangakat on my AT&T Galaxy S4 and it has Gallery and Photos. Though I also had the Google Experience Launcher so it must have been built with Nexus 5 gapps. My Galaxy Note 10.1 that is running Omni Rom also includes both Gallery and Photos.

    • Adam Truelove

      Except the launcher on a Nexus isn't garbage. So not quite like Sense or Touchwiz.

      • Frettfreak

        Sense 5+ including the launcher is pretty bad ass. I have tried to switch back to Nova and gel and always come back to sense. They really did it right this time

        • Drayon

          Yup, totally agree!
          I've been using sense from version 2, and up until 5 I've always been using another launcher. 5 really did it right with blinkfeed (never thought I would use it until I gave it a try) and the app drawer also has all the options I would otherwise needed to use another launcher for.
          And of course, sense widgets.

        • RaviShah

          The only thing I miss from GEL is the always listening Ok Google command :/

          • Matevz

            Hey, If you are rooted and have Xposed module, you can use that! :)

          • Barrett Jasper

            Download Xposed Xgels. Adds a Ton of features to GEL. OK Google, icon packs, rows and columns etc.etc. makes it to totally customizable

        • Damien

          Pitty about the hardware ;-)

        • Matevz

          I agree 100% ! I Own Note now (came from Htc One X) and i would really like to se Sense here with Pen options! :P
          I love HTC smart dialer! I love Sense 5+ launcher, widgets (calendar the most) etc etc...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      In some ways, yes. But, Google is doing it right. They're doing it all via APKs rather than modifying the AOSP core.

    • didibus

      I think this is perfect. AOSP should be a base foundation for anyone looking to make a robust mobile OS. CM and others have already started using that base to make smartphone and tablet oriented OSs.

      What would be bad is for Google to pollute AOSP with code that only works through it's own servers. Or for Google to just stop supporting AOSP all together and close source a fork of Android.

    • jim

      Ya, nexus isnt really stock android, like some think it is

  • Spasillium

    If you decide to copy the APK over manually, don't forget to set the permission on it to 644 before rebooting. ("Read" only on Owner, Group, Others. "Write" only on Owner)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      That's a great point. I have updated the article to add that to the installation procedure. I spaced on that one. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      If you use Root Explorer, it should do it automatically. But other file managers may not be as nice. I meant to mention it to Shawn, but forgot.

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      This bit I don't understand. Why 644? So, no "Execute" permission needed by anyone? And why doesn't it work if I give 664 or any other permission; as long as owner has read+write?

      • Mike Reid

        These 644 permissions are low level Linux file permissions, not higher level Android permissions. Android only needs to read them in order to run them as APKs.

        Low level Linux based utilities like "ping" need Linux execute permissions.

  • Andrew Thompson

    Gah I need root for the VZW Moto X!

    • TheDave1022

      There is a root method...and it works.

      • Andrew Thompson

        I'm used to the Nexus way of rooting, I've looked at *one* guide and it was pretty involved. I've done adb commands in the past, but I'm lazy!

  • ReturnOfTheMack

    Interestingly enough the Google dailer is missing a few features from the KitKat dailer. Paranoid Android has a Google dialer addon to go with their KitKat GAPPS but it was missing some features under settings such as vibrate on hang up, among others, and it was missing call history statistics.

    • Cj

      Vibrate on hangup/answer is a custom ROM feature added to the AOSP dialer. The pure AOSP dialer does not have these features.

      • ReturnOfTheMack

        I see. Haha I'm too used to using CM, even on my nexus devices. Are the call history statistics added features as well?

  • Android Developer

    which features does this app has that other apps (even those of manufacturers) don't ?

    I like the ability on my SGS3 to edit contacts nicely and in less steps, and using a custom rom i even have the ability to record calls really well , right during the call itself (it has a button for it). only disadvantage of the app is the slow startup of it. it's just slow and a bit laggy, especially if it has mixed languages (Hebrew and English contacts names).

  • Rodrigo Bittencourt

    Will be in Playstore in the near future, like GEL launcher.... for shure (gmail, keyboard, talk/hangout...)

  • Karlo

    Works perfect on my Find 5

  • Collin

    Anyone try HTC one with cm11?

  • TheDave1022

    Works fine on Moto X rooted for verizon

    • Kolyan24k

      Doesnt work on Moto X. Have you even tested it for functionality ?

      • TheDave1022

        What doesnt work?

        • Kolyan24k

          Recents and call log results in FC. But I think I might have found my problem. Installed in App folder, not Priv-app

          • Roh_Mish

            What's difference between app and app-private?

      • TheDave1022

        Oh, and I left the default dialer enabled. It just doesnt use it. Everything works fine. If it's Disabled, calling doesnt work.

      • Rockinronnie7

        I rooted my Verizon Moto X and have Kitkat running. When I tried the apk method in this article I was only able to get some functionality. I do not have the search features or the Google Caller ID working as you have shown in your snap shots. Any way you could elaborate on how you installed the Google Dialer?

    • JD

      I have tried on the Moto X rooted for Verizon and it does not work fully. Did you flash or use the apk? I used the apk and at first it did not want to work at all then I manually installed it from the priv-app folder and it showed but it will not search and or use the google caller ID. Any assistance would be appreciated.

      • TheDave1022

        Did you remember to change permissions? I used the APK, moved it to priv-app, changed permissions, rebooted.

        • JD

          Yes I did but the first time I did that the apk file would disappear after reboot. That is when I tried to manually install before the reboot. Which worked but like I said search will not work and id does not work.

          • TheDave1022

            Try rebooting into recovery so it toggles into read/write mode

  • Gaurav Arora

    As much as I love Android, the dialer wins as the most buggy app of this Nexus generation. It's an ergonomic disaster, and crashes like there no tomorrow! :(

  • Scott

    Hopefully this will be released to everybody. From a revenue perspective it should be.

  • Ashish

    which keyboard is this?? It has symbols embedded but mine stock keyboard doesnot have that

    • Franco Rossel

      The latest update of Google Keyboard

      • ash

        I am using the latest one on nexus 4 its not there. I mean the symbol are not there.

        • Franco Rossel

          Strange. They appear on my Nexus 7 and Razr i.

          • Roh_Mish

            Display size matters maybe

        • Aman Yajurvedi

          Same as you.

        • trjlive

          I'd like to figure out the keyboard symbols as well. I used to have them, but with the KitKat update, I now only have the numbers embedded on the top row. I'm running KitKat 4.4.2 on HTC One Google Play Edition. My Google Keyboard is version 2.0.19133.927933a. I attached a pic of what my keyboard looks like.

        • Peter

          The symbols ain't there in the screenshots in Google Play store either...

    • Stephan Reich

      It's the latest version of the AOSP keyboard. The Google version does NOT have that. But the AOSP version doesn't have the phrase-swipe feature yet.

    • Evan Relf

      Custom ROM

    • AtiRage

      The AOSP keyboard.

    • RamitSuri

      It's the keyboard that you get with custom ROMs. That's what I had on my GNex with unofficial CM11.

  • Ali makhion

    what is the difference in this dailer and the one in cm11 i think there are the same

    • Justin Fabian

      They look nearly identical, but the CM11 dialer doesn't have the option for google caller ID or to search for local businesses within the dialer.

      • Ali makhion

        have anyone try it in on cm11

        • MustWarnOthers

          I flashed it via the ZIP in recovery and it added in an additional "Phone" app that looks identical to the original CM11 phone. So it doesn't seem to overwrite or damage the original. The features work for me on Epic 4g Touch CM11.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            CM11 uses the AOSP one com.android.dialer. The Google Dialer is com.google.android.dialer.

            They don't bundle the Google Dialer in gapps either, which is a bit surprising actually.

          • Slawootsky

            Oh, until I read this comment thread I thought that non-Google devices still had 4.3 dialer. If it's just this business thing missing, then it's not a big deal (at least for me, Ukranian).

        • Mercedes

          I was able to flash the zip on my Galaxy Nexus running CM11. I also see an additional Phone app. Seems to be working fine and picked up business names for some of my previous calls.

      • Ali makhion

        they are almost identical but also google dialer doesn't have the statistics tab in the history section only "ALL& MISSED"

  • ericshmerick

    This will end up in KitKat eventually (for all phones). I can wait.

    • black

      No it won't, hence the article.

    • http://about.me/jovanphilip Jovan Philip

      Nope.

  • black

    A lot of buts and maybes. Better keep my pizza search on Maps.

  • tyguy829

    If the default dialer isn't disabled, will the caller id still work?

  • Slawootsky

    But freaking why? I don't understand Google's recent behavior.

    • gtg465x

      Me neither. The data they gather with the Google dialer would benefit their targeted advertising, just as searching google.com does. It's their main business model. You'd think they'd want it on as many phones as possible. Yet the Moto X, a phone made by Google itself, doesn't even get this feature? Who is making these decisions? The Chrome guy that took over Android? I'm starting to lose faith in him. Soon he'll do away with Android altogether in favor of Chrome OS.

      • Matt McKee

        "Moto X, a phone made by Google itself"

        The Moto X is made my Motorola. Motorola operates pretty much completely separate from Google, even though they're owned by them.

        • Grayson Carr

          Google still owns them and my comment still stands. Google should want this on every Android phone, even those not manufactured by a Google owned company.

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Google has gone over to the dark side. I've been feeling it for quite some time.

      • Slawootsky

        It is possible, but in this particular situation it's absolutely pointless. Everybody knows that Nexuses and GPEs sell poorly and even if Google decided to try to boost the sales I doubt that the first step they would take would be making "exclusive" apps.

  • http://www.About.me/PHADE PHADE

    Mine is working fine I just get "local" searches not close to me.
    Yes I have location on. Anybody?

  • Izia Elman

    Thanks for the post, it worked for me!
    Just flashed via CWM.
    CM11 on S4 i9505/

  • Stephen Fronda

    Didn't work for me, just FC's all the time.
    T-Mobile HTC One - Rooted and running CM11 (KitKat)

  • impu153

    Wow. This whole time, I was thinking that the reason I can't use the Caller ID and Nearby Places features was because I'm outside the US. Never would of thought that the "Google Dialer" in the ROM I'm using isn't the actual thing.

  • Artevius Hardin

    I figured this was the reason we couldn't use Hangouts as a dialer. Now that I know it isn't, I'm a little more annoyed.

  • sam tole

    This dialer sucks for me. The haptic feedback is so strong that dialing any number is just sad and frustrating. My nexus 4 feels like it's having a phone-quake!

  • Colin Richardson

    So does this mean the opposite is true? And I can get the JellyBean dialer on Kitkat?

  • Natan Facchin

    Really sad that this didn't show in my Moto X KitKat update. Not as much as the Nexus launcher, but still :(

  • Joseph Nguyen

    Well, You don't have to install Nova Launcher if you already install GEL and like it.. I just install QuickShortcutMaker -> tap QuickShortCutMaker -> tap Activities -> scroll down tap Google Dialer -> tap the first icons with Google Dialer (Phone) label -> tap OK at the bottom right and you're good to go.

  • http://www.idroidspace.com/ Sohil R. Memon

    Awesome! thanks for Android Google Dialer.

  • Roh_Mish

    Google, you can use play store to update the APPS and still keep it open source. If you keep on going like this the AOSP branch will rarely be updated and will become obsolete

  • Garrett Bridges

    Can anyone point me in the direction of a great dialer replacement? The TouchWiz dialer makes me murderously angry with the teardrop noises, and I like having regular dialing tones. I'm trying DialApp, but having very annoying issues with the missed calls notifications.

    Can I install a stock Google dialer on my S4 (not the 4.4 one sadly :-/)?

  • guest

    Can this work on a nexus 7 with sip?

  • Tracy She

    Thank you for this post and the downloads. I installed on nexus 7 2013 (LTE version) hoping to use the native sip dialer. So far so good. It can make and receive calls but I didn't actually talk to anyone I was calling my own home phone. BTW my nexus 7 is NOT rooted only unlocked and it installed for what I wanted as I bought a sip number from FreePhoneline a few years back. 😀

  • billyx

    Here is how to replace the stock dialer completly: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=49066088&postcount=73

  • Giovani Corrêa Cascaes

    Searching in the Store, found this app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.szalkowski.activitylauncher It can create shortcuts to activities, so the dialer can be called in any launcher

  • FreeAlienSoup

    I did everything and it showed that it was successful but when I go to open the Google Dialer it starts to open and then says Google Dialer has unfortunately stopped.Any suggestions?

  • Shamil

    Force Closing on Samsung Galaxy s4 I9500

  • Hunter9037

    Did it work with the Nexus 7 2013???

  • Rabid Rotty

    Can't find the download

  • Josh Sanders

    Works fine on SGS4 running 4.4.2. Shows up in the app drawer so no work around needed.

  • https://soundcloud.com/goodvibestribe a.d.AM

    Installed on N5 (stock, no root). Icon disappeared. I use nova launcher. I followed your instructions and now its working as it did before with the work around. Hopefully it magically appears again.

  • Christopher Robert

    I have confirmed you can install this on a 4.4.2 TW ROM and it works. It also does not replace the stock dialer.

  • nvdkhn

    Hey if the dialer shortcut is not showing up on your launcher, you can install quickshortcutmaker from the play store and it lets you select an activity just like nova launcher.

  • Bryant

    You can use the app activities launcher from from the play store instead. Works on any launcher.

  • Major_Pita

    More trouble than worth. You might have issues trying to re-enable your stock dialer if you uninstall the 1.1 APK. I ended up just reflashing my current ROM when this happened.

  • Fernando

    it works on my Sony Xperia ZQ, but if I try open dialers historic, the app closes instantaneously :/

  • http://about.me/sbinarao kamaelxiii

    What to do? It's force closing on MY Galaxy Note 2 LTE. Any suggestions?